Gov. Laura Kelly appointed six members on Aug. 28 to the 911 Coordinating Council, a group of officials who monitor the 911 systems in Kansas and create strategies to improve the systems.
Among the newly appointed members is Elizabeth Phillips, the public safety administrator for the KU Public Safety Office.
After a recent law change, the council was hopeful to include nontraditional centers — any organization that is not supported by the city or the county — after almost 10 years of them not being included. Two nontraditional seats were added, including Phillips and the chief of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation.
“We’ve had a voice because the council has always been open to our suggestions and requests, but we … weren’t actually at the table,” Phillips said. “We’ll just be able to participate in some of the benefits as they come forward.”
The council consists of 28 total members, with Kelly appointing 13 voting members and nine nonvoting members, according to a press release. The remaining seats are fulfilled by other authoritative positions.
“Each and every Kansan deserves exceptional 911 services when they need emergency help. It is imperative to their health and safety,” Kelly said in a press release. “We need to continue working every day on ways we can improve our 911 system, and I know these dedicated individuals are ready to take on that responsibility.”
Phillips will oversee not only the 911 services at the University of Kansas, but also other universities, community colleges, schools and educational institutions that implement public safety answering points.
With Kelly adding the two nontraditional seats, Phillips said it will give these centers a stronger voice than they had before.
“I’ve always been an advocate for nontraditional and for training because I’m a member of a nontraditional system,” Phillips said.
The other appointed members of the council include four reappointed members, Josh Michaelis (Lyons), Jonathan York (Topeka), Jerry Harrison (Independence) and Ellen Wernicke (Gardner), as well as Terry Clark (Holton) and Phillips.
The council will meet six or seven times a year, as well as additional meetings whenever necessary.